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Need advice and critique of new HT system

909 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  imjay
I have a rough draft of a possible system that I've put together based on a huge number of hours spent over the last few months researching products and reading thoughts of others on all things audiophile. I've heard Magnepans in stereo before but not these models and never in this combination or environment. However, I love the depth and imaging their design provides and the open spaciousness of the sound. I've decided on these models because, they're wall mountable and can fold flat if necessary, owner satisfaction is first rate, and they fit my budget. I haven't been able to audition any of the other equipment. (Higher end AV stores are very limited in this area.) I'd like those of you with some experience in the home audio arena to give me any thoughts you might have on whether or not I'm on the right track--and why. The reasoning behind your opinion will help me learn and understand how to make better choices! Thanks in advance! Here we go...

What I'll use my system for:

Watching SD and HD satellite TV 50%

Watching DVD/Blu Ray movies 25%

Listening to music (radio, CD, SACD, or DVD-Audio) 25%

I'm sure I might find myself doing more of one and less of another after learning my system's capabilities and what I enjoy most from it.

Room features:

Approximately 16X12' with 8' ceilings

Side walls are the long walls.

Left wall is has a centered large window (~8') with PVC blinds and sofa underneath.

Right wall has a centered open doorway (~4') into the rest of the house.

Front wall has standard window on the left abutted to the side wall and a french door on the right abutted to the side wall (both with PVC blinds) and a 3.5' tall piano on the wall in between.

The rear wall has the front door about 1' in from the left side wall.

Floors are hardwood with 4'X7' rug in center. The room doesn't seem to be overly live acoustically. My main listening position is a chair fairly centered on and close to the rear wall (ears ~2.5' in from of rear wall) near the door.

Equipment choices:

*TV: Panasonic 54 V10 series plasma mounted and centered on the front wall over the piano between the window and French door. (I realize this is a little high, but much of my watching/listening also will be from a slightly reclined position, so the sight line will be comfortable.)


*Front main speakers: Magnepan MC1's mounted on side walls about 2'-3' in from the front wall about 2.5'-3' off the floor so that they won't be blocked by the nearby sofa. Does anyone know of any imaging/reflection issues with having a glass window or door with PVC blinds behind these speakers (or Magnepans in general) instead of a solid wall?

*Rear surround speakers: Magnepan MMG-W's mounted on side walls about 1'-2' in from rear wall about 2.5'-3' off the floor. Since I'll mainly be sitting close to the rear wall, I don't want the rear speakers too far forward from that wall or I might end up almost behind them. I know MMG-W's need space behind them, but would 1'-2' be enough room for them to breathe? Also, I've never had a system that played multichannel music (SACD/DVD-A), so I don't know how big a role rear surround speakers play in listening to music like this. With their narrower bandwidth vs. the larger front MC1's, will I still enjoy them for multichannel music?

*Center channel speaker: I am going to try the MMG-C. But considering its smaller bandwidth compared to the MC1's, I may end up doing the phantom center configuration with the fronts if that sounds better or just as full. The CC3 is a possibility, but it would have to sound significantly better than the MMG-C or the MC1's in phantom mode to justify the expense. Has anyone used either of these centers with MC1 or MMG (the next closest thing) fronts or used these fronts in phantom mode instead of a center speaker? Also, a center would be on top of the piano and below the TV, meaning it would be
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It's interesting the wide range of definitions of HT or home theater and hope you don't mind my comments.

You spent like one line on what is probably the most important component of any visual entertainment system - the display - but long paragraphs on everything audio even including wire.

We tried to get that "at the movies" WOW (our definition of Home Theater) with a really nice 56in 1080p television and learned you can't get to HT with that sized display. Manufacturers call their surround sound packages "Home Theater Systems" but they just decode and direct sound to various speakers which when connected to a tv result in a tv with external surround sound.

So, may I suggest you consider (if the room will all allow it) that you consider a pull down or motorized screen that could come down over the flat wall mounted tv display and use with a projector to achieve a theater sized visual component to go along with the good sound system?

You will not ever be sorry if you can find a way to get there.

Best of Luck
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